Lawn care season is back, which means homeowners need to take precautions to protect their feet while using rotary-blade lawnmowers. Each year, approximately 25,000 Americans sustain injuries from power mowers, according to reports issued by the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. The blades whirl at 3,000 revolutions per minute and produce three times the kinetic energy of a .357 handgun. As a result, it's critical to understand the importance of proper foot protection while landscaping to avoid preventable injuries. 

Children under the age of 14 and adults over the age of 44 are the most vulnerable to mowing accidents. To protect you and your loved ones while doing yard work this season, we have highlighted some simple safety precautions to consider before you begin landscaping.

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  1. Never mow a wet lawn. Losing control from slipping on rain-soaked grass is the leading cause of foot injuries caused by power mowers.

  2. Wear heavy shoes or work boots when mowing – no sneakers or sandals. Wearing sturdy shoes is the best way to protect your feet from lawnmower blades and flying debris.

  3. Don't allow small children to ride on a lawn tractor. Children can be severely injured by mower blades when getting on or off the machine or by dragging their feet alongside the machine.

  4. Mow across slopes, never go up or down. Lawnmowers are heavy, and losing control of one while navigating an incline or decline can result in a tip-over and severe injury. 

  5. Never pull a running mower backward. If you slip or fall while pulling the mower towards you, you could end up underneath the mower's blades. 

  6. Keep children away from the lawn when mowing. Children can be unpredictable, and keeping them away from the mower prevents them from being hit with flying debris or being injured by the mower itself. 

  7. Keep a clip bag attached when operating a power mower. Using a clip bag helps to collect debris and prevents projectile injuries. 

  8. Use a mower with a release mechanism. A mechanism on the handle that automatically shuts it off when you let go means that if you lose control of the machine, the engine and blades will stop completely. 

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If a mower accident occurs, immediately flush the wound thoroughly and apply antibiotic ointment to prevent infection. Most simple wounds can be treated at home, but more serious injuries usually require surgical intervention to repair tendon damage, deep clean the wound, and suture it. If you have sustained any lower limb injuries while out and about this spring, contact us to schedule a visit! Our expert podiatrists can help you get back on your feet pain-free.

Find information on this and other foot and ankle injury topics at FootHealthFacts.org, the consumer website of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons.

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